Choice of bike

Electrically assisted bikes, trikes, etc.
Andy Blanshard
Posts: 2
Joined: 16 Feb 2018, 11:26am

Choice of bike

Postby Andy Blanshard » 16 Feb 2018, 11:31am

Hello, I wonder if you could give me some help.

I'm a long time CTC member, tourer and racer. I was diagnosed with a degenerative heart disorder (ARVC) about 6 years ago and now have very reduced cardiac output.

I bought a Storck ebike (Raddar multiroad). I was then able to get around and even go touring in the flatlands of the Loire. However, as you'll see below, it has many flaws. The worst thing is it's unreliability (it's been in the bike shop, for about the third time, for 2 months because it simply doesn't go).

A friend, employed by Raleigh, then lent me a Raleigh Mustang. I've used it on the road and on off-road racks. It definitely suits me more than the Storck. However, it has one drawback that really spoils it for me - the way the motor cuts in and out (again, described below).

When I had to give the Mustang back to my friend he asked me for some feedback on it. I've copied that feedback below (you'll see I also have a Vivax).

Since I'm now bikeless (except for the just-for-fun Vivax), I need to get another one.

What I don't know is if the Mustang's awfully crude application of assistance is typical of the Shimano Steps system, if the Storck's motor's unreliability is common, if any of the other motor types are better/worse. It seems that there are now a number of drop-bar, road or gravel (horrible name!) bikes and a number of drive systems. Without travelling the length and breadth of the UK and even abroad, it's difficult to try the alternatives.

I (and I believe others choosing their first e-bike - a growing community) would be really grateful for your technical/practical assessment of the power and drive systems on offer

Thanks and best wishes

Andy Blanshard

THE FEEDBACK
You asked me to give some feedback about it, comparing it with my other e-bikes (especially the Storck).

+ It's got drops - that is far more comfy for me, gives me more hand position options

- the SRAM gears have big jumps (admittedly, necessary with one chain ring and wide range of gearing)

- the double-click method of changing feels uncertain (possibly because of years of Shimano use, but I think it's not just that)

- power settings. There are just three positions unlike the Storck which has a complete sliding scale. Eco is extremely minimal and Boost is extremely maximal! The effect of changing to Boost is that it "comes in with a bang" and the bike accelerates faster than the riders pedalling so immediately cuts out - then in, then out etc. until there is a steady, significant incline. The Storck applies the motor support much more smoothly. This would be my biggest negative about the Mustang.

- on the same subject, when you are hovering around the 25kph cut of point, the Storck fades in and out whereas the Mustang bangs in and out.

+ it is a very comfy bike

+ unlike the Storck, you don't have to worry about every little bump causing a puncture - even though it's still a heavy bike, there's no huge mass of motor sitting in the rear wheel. The wheel size helps too.

+/- the thru axle is new to me. The rear one came loose twice.

+ there is more space on the Mustang "cockpit" for lights, computer etc.

+ whilst I never tested it out, if the built-in computer is to be believed, it has a greater range than the Storck

+ unlike the Storck, there is room for a bottle cage in the frame triangle

+ because of the weight distribution and the drops, the Mustang handles much more like a normal road bike.

+ the Mustang will free-wheel, the Storck has a constant motor-drag

+ without the battery I can carry the bike on a roof rack (the Storck wouldn't get above knee height!)

The Vivax has the advantages of being light and virtually a normal road bike. The big disadvantages are that, once engaged, the motor continues to turn the pedals at whatever cadence it's programmed to. You can't stop and cruise without it cutting out - I find this a nuisance, for example, if I want to coast up to a road junction just to check it's clear then accelerate across it without stopping. Also, you're never sure if you're in the most efficient gear. It has a limited range. The biggest disadvantage is that it is a lot less powerful than the other bikes.

If I could only have one of the bikes, I would most definitely choose the Mustang. If I could have two it would be Mustang and Vivax. If I could have a near-perfect ebike it would be the Mustang with the smooth application of power of the Storck. (And, if I was in dreamland, the weight of the Vivax!).

hercule
Posts: 828
Joined: 5 Feb 2011, 5:18pm

Re: Choice of bike

Postby hercule » 16 Feb 2018, 2:07pm

Is there not some way of customising the power application? Both the ebikes I’ve used have been able to finesse things such as degree of assist, when assist starts and how rapidly it fades out etc. Usually these options are buried deep in the “settings” menu and are not immediately obvious. The friendly manual or a bit of googling might help...

Andy Blanshard
Posts: 2
Joined: 16 Feb 2018, 11:26am

Re: Choice of bike

Postby Andy Blanshard » 19 Feb 2018, 9:38am

Thanks Hercule. I was hoping there was a friendly human manual :D

User avatar
squeaker
Posts: 3369
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 11:43pm
Location: Bramber, West Sussex

Re: Choice of bike

Postby squeaker » 19 Feb 2018, 10:06am

As a non-user I find the musings of AtoB mag of interest, especially their long term experiences. You might get more user feedback on Pedelecs forum or similar.
HTH
"42"